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Kishida to begin three-day visit to the Philippines, Malaysia

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Kishida to begin three-day visit to the Philippines, Malaysia

Photo: Kyodo via JAPAN Forward

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida begins three-day visit to the Philippines and Malaysia today.

Japan plans on seeking closer military cooperation with both countries. Prior to Kishida’s visit, Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. visited Japan and agreed to cooperate on non-military projects under Japan’s official development assistance (ODA). Today, Kishida and Marcos Jr. expect to finalize a military equipment transfer deal under Japan’s new official security assistance (OSA) program, and also to kick-start the negotiation of a reciprocal access agreement (RCA) to enhance military interoperability. In Malaysia, Kishida will promote Japan’s official security assistance (OSA) program when he meets with Malaysian Prime Minster Ibrahim Anwar.

Since this year, China has increased its military posture with in the disputed South China Sea. On Monday, it accused a Philippine military vessel of illegally entering Scarborough Shoal’s adjacent water. In contrast, China-Malaysia relations has been rather peaceful albeit Malaysia publicly rejecting the new map issued by China this August.

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Kishida’s visit signifies Japan’s increased securitized developmental diplomacy in Southeast Asia. The Philippines is most likely to seek security and economic ties with Japan agitating the Chinese, whereas Malaysia will probably agree to a security tie with Japan so long as it does not jeopardize its economic ties with China.

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